Beales seeks buyer amid administration warnings
Written by Hannah McGrath
The owner of Beales department stores has warned that the chain could collapse into administration, putting 1,000 jobs at risk.
According to the BBC, Beales, which has been trading since 1881, has said that the future of 22 stores would hang in the balance should the company fail to find a buyer within the coming days.
The company filed notice of its intention to appoint administrators after it launched a bid to sell the business last month and is currently in the process of negotiating with landlords as part of efforts to cut rents across its store network.
In a statement in December the company said it had appointed advisers from KPMG to begin the formal sales process as it began "assessing a number of strategic and financing options."
The statement said that the Beale ltd group "continues to acclimatise to the ever-changing landscape and challenges of the retail market. Investment is sought to deliver a sustainable business model for the future."
The BBC reported that the company is in talks with two potential buyers as the company remains hopeful it can secure a rescue deal. The company’s chief executive Tony Brown led a management buyout in 2018.
Beales posted a loss of £3.1 million in the year to March 2019, up from £1.3 million the year before due to weakening sales and rising costs.
The struggles at Beales are the latest in a long line of department stores and major High Street retailers battling to shore up their financial future in the face of the consumer shift to online shopping, with the British Retail Consortium reporting that 2019 had been the worst year on record for retailers.
Beales did not respond to a request for comment.